I saw this ad on BART yesterday:

Capitalism
stops at nothing


It looked just like a regular destination sign (i.e. Pittsburgh/Baypoint), so they had to preface it with "the following is a paid advertisement".

"I am not the first to point out that capitalism, having defeated communism, now seems about to do the same to democracy. The market is doing splendidly, yet we are not." - Ian Frazier

"Nothing is illegal if one hundred businessmen decide to do it." - Andrew Young


Capitalism has been characterized by a tendency toward the concentration of wealth, the growth of large corporations, etc. that has led to economic inequality, which has been dealt with usually by increased government action and control.
Well, since I don't think there's a terribly good explanation here, I will try to add to this node.

By definition, capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production. Simple, eh? Well, no... When most people speak of capitalism, they are referring to the idea of laissez-faire (let it be) capitalism. Laissez-faire capitalism refers to the complete separation of the government and the economy. Basically, all aspects of the economy should be controlled by private ownership and the government should stay completely out of it. Capitalism seeks to advance society by the pursuit of self-interest, the basic idea being that as an individual creates more wealth for himself, he is also creating more wealth and opportunities for his fellow men.

In a true capitalist system, the Government is only responsible for protecting the people from violations of their individual rights or fraud. The Government should have no ownership or participation in the economy, and should not regulate businesses. Laissez-faire capitalists also believe that the Government should not have any power to break up or regulate monopolies. They feel that in a truly free market, the only type of monopoly that can exist is an earned monopoly, where the company has created a barrier of entry to competition by being very good at what they do through fair competition. Coercive monopolies are formed due to Government interaction in the marketplace by setting taxes, regulations, or territorial limitations.

In addition, the market would act as a safeguard to itself. There would be no need for any government inspection because any product which was unsafe or poor quality would not succeed in the marketplace. Affirmative action would also not be needed, since it is in the company's best interest to succeed, they will hire the most qualified employees because it is in their best interests. In addition, it would promote a cleaner environment because all land is privately held and polluting would either damage your own property, or violate others rights to private property. Since private industry can do anything cheaper and more efficient than the government, education should also be privately run to allow for completion which would improve the quality of education for all.

This is the theory. As with most economic/social systems, the theory is not the reality. True capitalism has never been tried. In the US, there is a mixture of capitalism and various other ideals. The government has significant power over the economy and actively participates in the economy on a daily basis. Government regulation is abundant, welfare is given out daily, there are government sponsored monopolies, and the government owns land and some means of production.

Of course, one of the definitive modern works on laissez-faire capitalism is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It's an excellent book (you can read my short version at that node), however I think if she wanted to write a book about how great capitalism is she should have just come out and done so in a lot fewer words without the out of place fictional love stories and all that. But I digress...

Personally, I think Atlas Shrugged points out several flaws in ideal capitalism. Capitalism is party successful because it encourages greed. We are, inherently, a greedy species. We don't want equality, we want to better ourselves. We want to strive to improve our lives. Capitalism allows this, encourages it even. However, it does not allow for unlimited greed. Capitalism assumes that even though we are greedy, we will play by the rules. This fails under circumstances where people are greedy to the point that they will cheat to get ahead, most often in the form of monopolies. I don't believe that a coercive monopoly is impossible in a truly free market, as there are many things a company can do to create an unfair barrier to entry.

I also think capitalism fails to consider that not everyone is capable of contributing to society equally. The true capitalist view is that if you cannot contribute to society, it is due to laziness and incompetence and thus you don't deserve any of the benefits of society. In reality, there are many people who, due to physical or mental limitations, are not capable of caring for themselves without welfare or the compassion of others. Granted there are many people who abuse this, but there are still those who truly need help through no fault of their own.

An "orthodox" Marxist analysis of capitalism says that there are three preconditions for capitalist production:
  1. Enough people who don't own anything but their labour.
  2. Enough accumulated capital to set up means of production.
  3. Wide markets for selling goods.

It should be clear that these conditions are derived from historical analysis of production. One can see with one odd glance that these conditions give little help for overcoming post-fordist capitalism.

After such a poor "definition" it's not a wonder that commies can do nothing about it but drop lousy slogans like: "In socialism production is based on human need, not on the profit." In detailed analysis this says practically nothing...

Capitalism is Communism via High Finance.

A. Goods and Services flow forward through the economy.

B. Currency flows in the opposite direction.

In Communism Goods and Services are centrally planned and controlled. This is far too inefficient a system of slavery, because there is too much work for the slavemasters to keep track of. The people will reject this perfect system because they are told what to do, they don't believe they have choice. Humans reject the program, so another solution had to be devised.

In Capitalism, Debt-Backed currency is centrally planned and managed by a central bank (Federal Reserve/ECB, etc.), and thus allows the slaves to self manage and plan production under the illusion of a free market and the belief they have choice. This allows the slavemasters to not have to continously monitor their slaves, and they can more efficiently optimize the amount of produced wealth they confiscate for themselves via Usury/Interest charges on the currency.

Even for non-debtors, the usury charges (wealth extraction from producers to non-producers) appear as taxation, which is used to pay the national/government debt that backs the currency.

This is an unbalanced system that runs "full tilt", and is why it so frantically produces beyond it's needs, to the benefit of the bankers. The amount owed to the lenders (Principle+Interest) is always greater than the amount of currency in circulation (Principle), and requires a perpeutal increase in debt to keep the system running.

Eventually due to this leveraging, the total debt will always increase until the breaking point. Debt, which is the sum of the result of the unbalanced equation, will result in a system crash, and the system will need rebooted. The WTO, IMF, and World Bank exist to facilitate this process, and are the true axis of evil.

Capitalism


Capitalism is an economic system started in the 18th century characterized by the right of the private property.The captalism arose after the first Industrial Revolution. The ideology spread was “profit at any cost” The exchange of wealth is cordinated by private corporations. The origin of the term Capitalism was in Karl Marx’s , Das Kapital.


1. History:


Economists in the early 18th century declared that one state could only expand its wealth at the cost of another state. The Industrial revolution gave the opportunity for the accumulation of vast amounts of capital, which marked the development of the manufactures and implementation of a complex labor division. The industrialism replaced the merchant as a monopoly in the capitalist system and decline of the traditional handicraft skills of artisans.


2. Main influences:


2.1 Politics:


In the capitalist system, the governments are not supposed to have participation in the economy, and any kind of intervention in the economic system. This economic system also stated the free-market, which prevents a company’s monopoly. And since the competiton is supposed to be very high, the products qualities and prices should also be increased a lot.

2.2 Environment.


The capitalist system has influenced a lot in the environment. Since it is a production-based system, right after the Industrial Revolution, tons of charcoal and petrol are burnt, releasing CO² in the atmosphere. They are used because of their high-energy generation, even though they are not renewable resources.
This daily emission of CO² is the main contributor to the global warming. The USA is the country with the biggest CO² rate (24%), while having only 4,6% of the World Population.


3. References





4. For further reading:


The Capital – Karl Marx
Adam Smith - The Wealth of Nations
Industrial Revolution
Anarcho Capitalism

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